This is the final weekend for Fantasy Baseball drafts/auctions as the season’s first game is Sunday, April 2nd with the Arizona Diamondbacks travelling to San Francisco to take on the Giants. A full slate of games is on tap for Monday, April 3rd.
My oldest league always seems to auction late as people’s lives seem to get more complicated as we grow older. We used to bang these things out back in our twenties. This year will represent my first baseball auction in my fifties, granted just fifty. As I’ve stressed in previous columns, if you’re conducting a snake draft, you’re not playing real roto baseball. An auction is REAL roto and, man, is it taxing mentally the older you get.
Last year a horrifying thing happened. I mean other than Donald Trump. My computer crashed mid-auction. To put this in perspective, unlike many of my colleagues who still faithfully bring their cheat sheets from various paper publications, a few different color pens, and a legal pad, to the auction, ALL of my information from the last three seasons’ aggregations to projections to a spreadsheet with a running tally of auction dollars left, both individually and in the pool of players, are on my computer.
When the crash occurred, I informed everyone on the telephone – the league originated in Memphis but now has players who have moved to Atlanta and Tampa and me in Seattle – and everyone was happy to take a break and let me re-boot. And, my computer re-booted….and re-booted….and re-booted. And it soon became crystal clear, this baby was not coming back any time soon. I couldn’t hold up what is usually a six to seven-hour auction for any longer. So, I took a deep breath and morphed back to the early 2000’s
Armed with a sheet of paper and a pen, I got the swatman to read off who I had currently rostered and at what price. Ignoring the composition of all my competitors rosters and the status of their bankrolls, I proceeded in the analog world of pen, paper, and my memory. Without stats to look at, I could, surprisingly, remember what attributes each player possessed, if not to the nth degree, and how each could contribute to the roster I was constructing. Several hours later, with the remaining brain power of a freshly dead walker on the Walking Dead, I was done, both literally and figuratively – twenty-three active players and six bench players.
The result? After a few weeks and a few tweaks, I settled in near the top of our twelve-team league, a league I had only won once, and that was a shared win. And though I had finished in the money a handful of times, including that tie for first, I had never won outright. After a few months, it became clear that this wasn’t a fluke. My team was pretty dominant offensively and I then moved to shore up my pitching by punting saves in order to bulk up on wins and strikeouts. A few weeks before the trade deadline, I dealt Washington National’s young phenom, Trea Turner, to bring back Max Scherzer and solidify my rotation.
As September wound down, I was watching the standings in real time each night. But, with a week or two to go, it became clear that I wasn’t going to be caught. I was going to win my league. And, I did. I won my league in the year my computer crashed.
The Moral of the Story?
To avoid turning in a completely self-serving, narcissistic, nostalgia piece, I do think there is a moral to my story of the crashed computer on auction day. Trust yourself. If you’ve done your homework, you know what to do. Yes, the crutch of a cheat sheet or an elaborate Excel spreadsheet is comforting, but you really can do it without them.
Good luck to all you Fantasy Baseball players drafting or auctioning this weekend and to all of you who have already endured that ordeal. The fun part starts Sunday.